Temple locations are important for two main reasons:
a) To know where sacred ancient BoM land areas are located, to respect, protect if possible, and make pilgrimages—as in Jerusalem
b) To know where Our Lord will first come when He returns (e.g., Bountiful Temple)
Just like the Jerusalem temple’s true location has been protected (just north of the Dome of the Rock; see Dome of Spirits) from anything being built over it for two thousand years, so too have the main Book of Mormon temples been protected (explained further down).
Temples served many purposes, one of which was the sacrificing of animals, so there needed to be room for a lot of animals, plus much water for washing and cleaning. Temples were also places for gathering and teaching. Thus, a temple location must accommodate multitudes of people and animals with sufficient water and drainage.
Temple of Nephi
The first temple mentioned is the one built by Nephi in his city, which was in the Land of Nephi (proper), which was within the Land of Nephi (general), which was within the Land Southward, and it was patterned after King David’s temple:
16 And I, Nephi, did build a TEMPLE; and I did construct it after the manner of the TEMPLE OF SOLOMON save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the TEMPLE OF SOLOMON; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine. (2 Nephi 5)
Nephi’s brother Jacob is found teaching in the same temple:
17 Wherefore I, Jacob, gave unto them these words as I taught them in the TEMPLE, having first obtained mine errand from the Lord. (Jacob 1)
Other mentions include:
17 And now, it came to pass on the morrow that king Limhi sent a proclamation among all his people, that thereby they might gather themselves together to the TEMPLE, to hear the words which he should speak unto them. (Mosiah 7)
2 And he caused that Ammon should stand up before the MULTITUDE, and rehearse unto them all that had happened unto their brethren from the time that Zeniff went up out of the land even until the time that he himself came up out of the land.
3 And he also rehearsed unto them the last words which king Benjamin had taught them, and explained them to the people of king Limhi, so that they might understand all the words which he spake. (Mosiah 8)
8 And it came to pass that king Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings; and he ornamented them with fine work of wood, and of all manner of precious things, of gold, and of silver, and of iron, and of brass, and of ziff, and of copper;
9 And he also built him a spacious palace, and a throne in the midst thereof, all of which was of fine wood and was ornamented with gold and silver and with precious things.
10 And he also caused that his workmen should work all manner of fine work within the walls of the TEMPLE, of fine wood, and of copper, and of brass.
11 And the seats which were set apart for the high priests, which were above all the other seats, he did ornament with pure gold; and he caused A BREASTWORK to be built before them, that they might rest their bodies and their arms upon while they should speak lying and vain words to his people.
12 And it came to pass that he built a TOWER near the TEMPLE; (Mosiah 11)
Land of Nephi – Greater
In the greater Land of Nephi (not just around Nephi’s city) additional temples are indicated without any descriptive particulars (e.g., not size, location, who built them, or priests who served or taught in them):
13 And Alma and Amulek went forth preaching repentance to the people in their TEMPLES, and in their sanctuaries, and also in their synagogues, which were built after the manner of the Jews.
15 And thus did Alma and Amulek go forth, and also many more who had been chosen for the work, to preach the word throughout all the land. And the establishment of the church became general throughout the land, in all the region round about, among all the people of the Nephites. (Alma 16)
Lamanite temples are mentioned on Lamanite lands within the greater Land of Nephi, but without particulars:
1 Behold, now it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites sent a proclamation among all his people, that they should not lay their hands on Ammon, or Aaron, or Omner, or Himni, nor either of their brethren who should go forth preaching the word of God, in whatsoever place they should be, in any part of their land.
2 Yea, he sent a decree among them, that they should not lay their hands on them to bind them, or to cast them into prison; neither should they spit upon them, nor smite them, nor cast them out of their synagogues, nor scourge them; neither should they cast stones at them, but that they should have free access to their houses, and also their TEMPLES, and their sanctuaries. (Alma 23)
27 Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.
29 And we have entered into their houses and taught them, and we have taught them in their streets; yea, and we have taught them upon their hills; and we have also entered into their TEMPLES and their synagogues and taught them; and we have been cast out, and mocked, and spit upon, and smote upon our cheeks; and we have been stoned, and taken and bound with strong cords, and cast into prison; and through the power and wisdom of God we have been delivered again. (Alma 26)
The Land of Nephi was separated from the Land of Zarahemla by a natural land barrier called the Lamanite Line of Possession. Their respective lands were separated by miles and wilderness. They had their own temple which was a special location for the memorable speech given by King Benjamin (with many specifics given):
18 And now, it came to pass that Mosiah went and did as his father had commanded him, and proclaimed unto all the people who were in the land of Zarahemla that thereby they might gather themselves together, to go up to the TEMPLE to hear the words which his father should speak unto them. (Mosiah 1)
1 And it came to pass that after Mosiah had done as his father had commanded him, and had made a proclamation throughout all the land, that the people gathered themselves together throughout all the land, that they might go up to the TEMPLE to hear the words which KING BENJAMIN should speak unto them.
2 And there were a great number, even so many that they did not number them; for they had multiplied exceedingly and waxed great in the land.
3 And they also took of the firstlings of their flocks, that they might OFFER SACRIFICE and burnt offerings according to the law of Moses;
4 And also that they might give thanks to the Lord their God, who had brought them out of the land of Jerusalem, and who had delivered them out of the hands of their enemies, and had appointed just men to be their teachers, and also a just man to be their king, who had established peace in the land of Zarahemla, and who had taught them to keep the commandments of God, that they might rejoice and be filled with love towards God and all men.
5 And it came to pass that when they came up to the TEMPLE, they pitched their TENTS ROUND ABOUT, every man according to his family, consisting of his wife, and his sons, and his daughters, and their sons, and their daughters, from the eldest down to the youngest, every family being separate one from another.
6 And they pitched their TENTS round ABOUT THE TEMPLE, every man having his tent with the DOOR THEREOF TOWARDS THE TEMPLE, that thereby they might REMAIN IN THEIR TENTS and hear the words which king Benjamin should speak unto them;
7 For the multitude being so great that king Benjamin could not teach them all within the WALLS OF THE TEMPLE, therefore he caused a tower to be erected, that thereby his people might hear the words which he should speak unto them.
8 And it came to pass that he began to speak to his people from the tower; and they could not all hear his words because of the greatness of the multitude; therefore he caused that the words which he spake should be written and sent forth among those that were not under the sound of his voice, that they might also receive his words. (Mosiah 2)
The Land Bountiful was north of the Land Zarahemla and the City of Bountiful is where our Lord descended after His resurrection (which means it survived the destructions that took place at that time) and several distinctions are given:
1 And now it came to pass that there were a GREAT MULTITUDE gathered together, of the people of Nephi, round about the TEMPLE which was in the land Bountiful; and they were marveling and wondering one with another, and were showing one to another the great and marvelous change which had taken place.
8 And it came to pass, as they understood they cast their eyes up again towards heaven; and behold, they saw a Man descending out of heaven; and he was clothed in a white robe; and he came down and stood in the midst of them; and the eyes of the whole multitude were turned upon him, and they durst not open their mouths, even one to another, and wist not what it meant, for they thought it was an angel that had appeared unto them. (3 Nephi 11)
6 And he said unto them: Behold, my bowels are filled with compassion towards you.
7 Have ye any that are sick among you? Bring them hither. Have ye any that are lame, or blind, or halt, or maimed, or leprous, or that are withered, or that are deaf, or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy.
25 And the multitude did see and hear and bear record; and they know that their record is true for they all of them did see and hear, every man for himself; and they were in number about TWO THOUSAND AND FIVE HUNDRED SOULS; and they did consist of men, women, and children. (3 Nephi 17)
3 Yea, and even all the night it was noised abroad concerning Jesus; and insomuch did they send forth unto the people that there were many, yea, an EXCEEDINGLY GREAT NUMBER, did labor exceedingly all that night, that they might be on the morrow in the place where Jesus should show himself unto the multitude.
4 And it came to pass that on the morrow, when the MULTITUDE was gathered together
5 And behold, the multitude was so great that they did cause that they should be separated into TWELVE BODIES.
10 And when they had thus prayed they went down unto the WATER’S EDGE, and the multitude followed them. (3 Nephi 19)
The Land Northward was first inhabited by the Jaredites but there is no mention of temples among them. Those who later migrated there did have temples yet no other particulars are mentioned:
9 And the people who were in the land northward did dwell in tents, and in houses of cement, and they did suffer whatsoever tree should spring up upon the face of the land that it should grow up, that in time they might have timber to build their houses, yea, their cities, and their TEMPLES, and their synagogues, and their sanctuaries, and all manner of their buildings.
14 But behold, a hundredth part of the proceedings of this people, yea, the account of the Lamanites and of the Nephites, and their wars, and contentions, and dissensions, and their preaching, and their prophecies, and their shipping and their building of ships, and their building of TEMPLES, and of synagogues and their sanctuaries (Helaman 3)
The first temple mentioned in the record was built by Nephi which is currently being protected by the Dunkirk Airport and is identified by the shape of a cross:
How rare is it to have an airport in the exact shape of a cross? Compare it with other airports in the surrounding areas:
The second temple is Zarahemla (East Aurora) and the area is being preserved by “Land of Promise Church”:
The third temple is Bountiful (Tonawanda) which is protected by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (and Delaware Park & Hoyt Lake) and is identified by the roads that point to it in the shape of an arrow:
See also: Sacred Geography